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It was always to be much regretted that Mr. Shirley did not endeavour, more than actually was the case, to continue the variety; and had he done so there is no reason to doubt that the Ettington Park Kennels might now be as noted for “little bull terriers"
as they are for flat-coated retrievers. Could such dogs as Nelson and Dick be produced to-day, I should not be at all afraid of a return to popularity of such a handsome strain. Messrs. J. F. Godfree, J. Hinks, J. Watts, Harry Nightingale, J. Willock, and E. Bailey, all of Birmingham or the neighbourhood, from time to time had excellent bull terriers under 16lb. in weight, and in their days they realised quite as much money as the larger variety
At one or two of our London shows attempts have recently been made, similar to that which was done with regard to bull terriers, other than white, viz., to resuscitate the little dogs by providing classes for them. The result, however, has not met with much success, although, as we have already stated, support was given them by the Ladies' Kennel Association and by several exhibitors who have the interests of the little dogs at heart. Still, even noble patronage does not seem to sustain and improve these charming little dogs.
There is no doubt that the bull terrier, be he either
big or little, never reached that height of popularity his merits deserved, by reason of the obnoxious custom, prevailing until
years ago, of cropping his ears. This cruelty was originally perpetrated in order that when fighting, the ears would not afford hold for an opponent's teeth. So the aural appendages were cut right off. Later the operation became a much more artistic piece of work, and the ears were so shaped as to stand straight up alrnost to a point, with an inward curve, rather than an outward one, which was said to give the animal a smarter and more aristocratic appearance. It might have done so or not, and I cannot deny that some bull terriers with their ears on did look, to say the least, dowdy and coarse, alongside others that had been properly cropped. This, however, arose from the fact that the bull terrier had been bred with ears that would crop the best-thick at the roots, and just such ears that hung badly and looked inelegant on the dog that carried them. It has not taken many generations to produce bull terriers with nice drop, rose, or semi-erect ears; and that ears can be produced, as it were to order, is plainly in evidence with the example of those of the Irish terrier before us. I have heard it urged that bull terriers never had such neat natural ears as were sometimes to be
found on the original Irish terrier, and that unsuccessful attempts had been made to breed them with ears which would look well uncropped.
The mutilation, usually done when the animal was from seven to ten months old, was a troublesome operation, requiring considerable skill and nerve on the part of the operator.
cases it was customary to place the dog under chloroform or some other anæsthetic whilst the operation was being performed, and ingenious contrivances, to which the patient was fastened with straps, were often brought into use. Even when the actual cutting was finished, the trouble did not end, for the ears had to be fastened up, and daily manipulated until they grew into the correct position. Sometimes the ears had to be re-cut and re-adjusted. It was, and is still, also the custom to cut the whiskers of bull terriers, which is said to smarten their appearance, and the short superfluous hair which grows on the cropped ears is carefully shaved off on the eve of the show. Then it is not unusual to singe or otherwise manipulate the hairs on the tail in order that it may appear smoother and neater than Nature originally made it ; indeed, the Kennel Club allow's the tails of bull terriers to be “dressed,” a concession which they refused to the English white terrier. A bull terrier is a difficult dog to trim and
get ready for exhibition, in order that he may appear to the best advantage before the judge.
Some years ago I attended a country show in the North, where there was an excellent class of bull terriers, which the judge had weeded out until only three or four remained. He was about handing the first prize ribbon to'a well-known exhibitor, who had charge of a certain dog, which was taken into the ring on a tight chain. Unfortunately the handler inadvertently slackened the chain for a moment, the dog shook itself, and a perfect cloud of white powder flew from its jacket. The judge, the late Major Cowen, of Blaydon Burn, Newcastle-on-Tyne, smiled, the spectators tittered, and the handler, looking foolish, without more ado took his dog back on to the bench. Chinese clay was much used on white dogs to hide any yellowness or redness that might appear on the skin, and perhaps also to hide a fawn or brindled mark.
When engaged on the first edition of this book, eight years ago,' I was little aware how nearly approaching the end of its day was the cropped bull terrier. There had always been more or less of an agitation against the practice which, besides being terribly cruel, was illegal, and rendered its promoters liable to conviction under the Cruelty to Animals Acts. From time to time such prosecutions had
actually taken place, but it was not until the result of one instituted early in 1895 became known, that steps were taken by the Kennel Club to entirely do away with cropping.
which has already caused such a change in the appearance of sundry of our terriers, was simple enough. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took proceedings at the Worship Street Police Court, London, against Henry Cooper and Robert and Mary Carling, the latter husband and wife," for causing to be tortured, and for actually torturing and ill-treating, by cutting its ears, a certain dog," said to be an Irish terrier, but the breed was in doubt. Cooper, the owner of the dog, sent it to the Carlings, who were experts in dog-cropping, to be operated upon. Mrs. Carling held the dog whilst her husband plied the scissors. The actual facts of the case were not disputed, but for the defence a fruitless endeavour was made to prove that it was necessary to crop bull terriers' ears to prevent them getting injured when fighting. The magistrate, Mr. Bushby, in giving his decision, said that “the prevalence of the practice might have blunted any moral sensibility the defendants would perhaps otherwise have possessed. He took that into consideration, and allowed them the option of a fine, this being the first